Improvising for the Community
For three decades, DCCK has been headquartered just four blocks from the U.S. Capitol in the Federal City shelter. In January, this proximity to the seat of American democracy brought a sudden shock to our ongoing emergency relief efforts. Because of the insurrection of January 6 to the ensuing, lengthy lockdown of streets surrounding the Capitol, our main kitchen was fully encircled by closed roads while we saw every nearby Metro stop close and barbed-wire barriers rise up just a block from our doors. Even though our efforts to fight DC’s hunger crisis didn’t need to be made any harder, we made sure every single meal and grocery bag was delivered.
How did our tireless kitchen and delivery teams pull this off?
- Our community meal production efforts relocated to our Nutrition Lab school food production facility in Northeast DC. This relocation took place in a single day as our transportation team rapidly ferried food and equipment across the city to allow our operations to continue.
- A small number of DCCK production staff stayed at the Hyatt hotel across from our main kitchen facility at 425 Second Street NW to ensure that quality meals were prepared and served to the other agencies in the Federal City Shelter throughout the lockdown.
- We temporarily relocated our grocery bag assembly operation from the Washington Convention Center in downtown DC to our DC Central Kitchen Cafe at THEARC in Ward 8.
- We adjusted nearly all of our delivery routes in light of different starting points, road closures, and changes to our meal recipient partners’ schedules and hours.
- Occasions Caterers generously allowed us to use their parking lot to store our vehicles overnight.
Even though this improvised shift added to our operating expenses and logistical burdens over the last two weeks, we ensured all staff were paid for full-time hours even if their schedules were disrupted.
Because of your support, DC Central successfully navigated this extremely challenging period and will continue to do everything possible to keep our front-line staff safe while addressing the critical needs of our community.